Tuesday, November 27, 2007

R.I.P. Sean Taylor

Two R.I.P. posts in a row, what is going on here.

Rarely will I feel the need to make a post about something unrelated to baseball, but I think this qualifies. As a Miami Hurricanes fan, I've always liked Taylor, despite his on- and off-the-field issues in the NFL. He had a ton of talent, and it's very disheartening to see him go.

Brian Pata was killed last November. Kevin Everett is lucky to even walk after his life-threatening injury while playing for the Bills this season. Now Sean Taylor dies after being shot. And on top of that, the Hurricanes are having their worst season in recent history. It's been a very difficult last 13 months for Miami fans. Even the Dolphins are currently winless this season.

R.I.P. Sean

Friday, November 23, 2007

R.I.P. Joe Kennedy

Joe Kennedy, 28-year-old pitcher, died this morning. It's being reported that it may have been a brain aneurysm.

I still remember Darryl Kile's death five years ago and how much it touched me, despite not having much prior care for him besides that he was a pitcher for a team I liked. You don't expect anyone to die at such a young age, but when it's a professional athlete, someone who you've followed for some years and who you would expect to be in great condition, it's even more shocking (although obviously not as shocking as someone you know personally).

Kennedy is now the third MLB player to die in the past 14th months, so while still shocking, the mortality of professional athletes is sinking in more. This one hits a little bit more than the others, on a personal level.

I'm not a bobble-head collector. I only have two, and I got them both from a free giveaway. One is Tiki Barber, and the other, as you can probably guess, is Joe Kennedy.

Joe Kennedy is obviously a strange bobble-head to have. It's not even from a Major League team. It's actually from his Class A-Short Season Minor League team, the Hudson Valley Renegades, a farm team for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. I've gone to a lot of their games over their games over the 14 years they've been in the area. I don't remember exactly why, but at one game I went to, they had a Joe Kennedy bobble-head day. Kennedy pitched for the team in 1999, when they won their only league championship.

I still have my Joe Kennedy bobble-head somewhere. Sadly, his career and life ended all too soon. Rest In Peace.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mets trade Mota!! (for Estrada)

Well, past Lo Duca and Torrealba, the Mets seem to have gotten their catcher, and it's Johnny Estrada. But that's not even the best part.

Guillermo Mota is gone!

I would've been more than happy to get rid of Mota for nothing. I'd be glad if we even paid to get rid of him. But not only did we get rid of him, but we also got a piece of the puzzle back in return!

Now, Estrada isn't one to get all too excited about. Neither were the other options, though Estrada probably even less so than those. But considering these other options, Estrada comes with much less commitment than guys like Paul Lo Duca, Yorvit Torrealba, or Ramon Hernandez would have taken. Plus there's the huge added bonus of not having to deal with the liability that is Guillermo Mota. One less bullpen problem to deal with.

So, we secured left field, second base, catcher, and our bench, plus added by subtraction in our bullpen. Now it's time to focus on the starting rotation.

Back and forth, back and forth....now I can sadly say with clarity (I think), goodbye Lo Duca.

EDIT, 11/21: I'm no expert on contracts and arbitration and all that, so I'm not exactly sure how this works. But it seems like Estrada is not necessarily definitely going to be with the team next year. The Mets can still find a better option at catcher and choose to not give Estrada a contract for next season. Basically though, the deal takes away any worry about filling the hole, as it is currently filled by Estrada, but if we can upgrade without giving up too much, then there's no problem losing Estrada. And we still don't have Mota or his contract.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Luis Castillo re-signs

The Mets have locked up their second baseman, and it's Luis Castillo sticking around. There was talk about David Eckstein, and I would have liked him, because I like the kind of player he is. But I've always liked Luis Castillo, too, and I think he fit in well last year. It would have been exciting to have Eckstein, but I think we're just as well off as Castillo.

It's a four year deal though, and I think that's a bit too much of a commitment. But it seems like Eckstein was looking for the same kind of thing, so I guess Omar didn't have much choice there. We'll see how it works out.

Roundup: Glavine to Braves, Lowell and Rivera re-signing

Well, Tom Glavine is headed back to the Braves, concluding what was pretty expected since the end of the season. Now if only they could somehow bring Greg Maddux back as well, that would be pretty cool. Or pretty annoying. Anyway, this officially leaves a hole in the starting rotation for the Mets, so hopefully no more deals fall apart at the last minute for Omar.

In other news, it's reported that Mike Lowell has agreed to re-sign with with the Red Sox. There were some reports that the Yankees were interested in getting him to play 1B, so I'm glad that won't end up happening.

Also, Mariano Rivera is reportedly close to re-signing with the Yankees. It would have been really interesting to see what would have happened if he hit the market, where he would go (if not too obvious that it would be the Dodgers). But like Posada, I'd rather see him back in a Yankees uniform.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Nevermind Torreabla

Well, so much for that. Just when I was getting ready to welcome in Yorvit Torreabla, apparently discussions broke off suddenly. After reports that they reached an agreement on a deal, something happened that prevented it from being finalized.

So, it looks like it's back to the drawing board for Omar. And that's probably not a good thing. I honestly wasn't too excited about Torrealba, but there's not a whole lot to get excited about with the available catchers.

This could mean they try to fall back on Lo Duca, but it's been becoming more and more obvious that the Mets don't want anything to do with him. So, this likely means the Mets will now look to sign someone with lesser value than Torrealba, or have to acquire someone via trade.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Alex Rodriguez signs with....the Yankees?

Well, that was uneventful. But either way, I'm relieved to see him off the market, so we can put all this talk about him and the Mets behind us.

It would have been interesting to see him hit the market and see what would have happened. But in a way I'm glad he ended up staying. Keep the bad guy in the Evil Empire. Even though I want to see the Yankees suffer, I'd rather root against him as a Yankee than root against him as a member of a different team. And I'd rather see him in New York than somewhere else like Los Angeles anyway.

So, all the hype and wonderment surrounding A-Rod this offseason, and it all ends rather quickly and boringly, although with an unexpected twist. The important thing though is that on Opening Day 2008, David Wright will be the starting third baseman for the Mets.


What a roller coaster ride. And I hate roller coasters. First Lo Duca is "as good as gone." Then Omar was "optimistic" about re-signing him. With Posada signing with the Yankees, I thought the door opened even more. Now it looks like the Mets are close to deals that would mean the end for Lo Duca in New York.

Ramon Castro is currently very close to re-signing for two years, if the deal isn't already complete. Talks are also heating up between the Mets and free agent catcher Yorvit Torrealba. While that's not nearly as definite as Castro coming back, I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen.

Obviously I would have preferred Lo Duca to stay, but I had come to accept the fact that he was likely to be going, so I'm prepared for that. I always saw the 2nd best solution was to re-sign Castro, and sign another average catcher to split time. I'm not sure how much production to expect from Torrealba, but it seems that's what would happen here.

I'm looking forward to yelling "YORVIT!" whenever Torrealba does something good though.

EDIT: Looks like Torrealba is about as close to a done deal as Castro. Bye Paulie.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Posada remains with the Yankees

Reports are out that Jorge Posada is re-signing with the Yankees for four years. Enjoy him at the end of that contract.

More importantly, now that that is out of the way, the Mets can focus on their own catching situation without worrying about going after Posada. Most likely that may mean intensifying talks with Paul Lo Duca.

I'm glad Posada is staying with the Yankees, because he's one of those long-timers that I can appreciate, even if I do hate them. And I'm also glad because it greatly increases the chances of the Mets re-signing Lo Duca now that that big name is no longer available.

Monday, November 12, 2007

What about Glavine?

What do the Mets do about their most trusted starter from last season?

If the Mets let Tom Glavine go, then his career in New York will have ended leaving fans with a sour taste in their mouth, to put it nicely. Three horrible, inexcusable starts when the team needed him most, when they were counting on him to help right the ship. Especially his final start, the last game of the season, giving up 7 runs while recording just one out; words can't even describe the hatred and disgust towards Glavine at that time.

And he did it all with seemingly little care. His words were: "I’m not devastated. I’m disappointed, but devastation is for much greater things in life.

As for Glavine returning, I have mixed feelings on it. On the one hand, after the way he finished the season, particularly his final game, the disrespect he showed to all the devastated Mets fans with that quote, the rumors the previous offseason about him going back to the Braves, and the rumors already starting about him going back to the Braves in the upcoming offseason, I was sick. I basically said, "Fine, go back to the Braves, I never want to see you in a Mets uniform ever again."

Of course, tempers have a tendency to calm over time. So, on the other hand, Glavine is a great pitcher, and the way he ended last season will have no effect on the way he pitches next season. He should once again be a reliable arm in the rotation. And if we go through the offseason unable to acquire another pitcher, and Glavine leaves, then we enter next season once again with a very weak starting rotation.

I guess it depends on what other moves we make. If we sign a guy like Carlos Silva, or trade for a guy like Joe Blanton, then the need to keep Glavine lessens. I do not want to see a guy like El Duque or Mike Pelfrey be asked to be the 4th starter on this team. I'd prefer it if they weren't even asked to be the 5th.

I guess the bottom line is, I wouldn't be upset to see Glavine leave, even if it is to go back to the Braves, where he "belongs." I wouldn't mind at all if I didn't see him in a Mets uniform ever again. But we have a glaring weakness in the rotation if no other pieces are added. If that hole is filled by Glavine for one more year, then I'm also fine with that.

Then we can sign Johan to fill the hole next year.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Poll Results: Close, but yes to A-Rod

You can't really draw anything conclusive about a poll with just 11 votes, but I suppose something can be said about the split decision. MetsBlog.com polls about the issue, which do draw a great amount of votes, have had fairly split results as well. So I'm getting the sense that there is a nice split between those who would love to have the player regardless, and those like me who just want to stay away.

I just hope that if we do get A-Rod, that subsequent polls won't show a great majority of people who are happy we got him, because it's easy to think differently after you have the player than when it's still in question.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wright and Beltran win Silver Slugger, too; shut up, Larry.

To go alongside their nice new Gold Glove awards, David Wright and Carlos Beltran now also have Silver Slugger awards for last season. Congrats again, guys. Again, Omar, please don't disrupt David Wright.

And now Larry Jones (you will never see me refer to him as "Chipper") is saying he's "shocked" that Wright won the Gold Glove, obviously saying that he was unworthy of winning the award. In Larry's defense (not that he deserves to be defended), it doesn't seem like he meant to come out and say it publicly, more like he was just talking with a Braves blogger and he published it. And honestly, I was a bit surprised Wright won it as well. But the point still stands: shut up, Larry.

Instant Replay a likely addition.

The purist I am, I've always been pretty opposed to the idea of instant replay in baseball. Now, GMs are trying to make it happen. And honestly, I'm actually in favor of it.

The proposal would allow instant replay only to help determine home runs calls: whether they are fair or foul; whether or not it actually cleared the fence/line; and whether or not a fan interfered with the ball.

These are calls that could easily make a huge difference in a game. Obviously the biggest memory that comes to mind is Jeffrey Maier reaching over the fence to give a home run to the Yankees in the playoffs against the Orioles.

I don't think that it hurts to take the human element away in these situations and leave it up to instant replay to decide. It's always a controversial decision to make, and at least one of the managers has to come out of the dugout to argue his side with the umpires. It would be a good thing to make sure they get the call right, with little to no possibility of controversy, especially in a big playoff game.

The only thing I worry about with this is the foot-in-the-door aspect. If Bud Selig, who is strongly against instant replay, relents for this change, it could then make it easier for GMs to push for more replay use, and then it could get into the area where I would also be strongly against it. Things like fair or foul down the line calls, safe or out calls, etc. Baseball purists everywhere would cringe.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

David Wright and Carlos Beltran win Gold Gloves

And of course this circles back around to A-Rod.

Yup, David Wright is now a Gold Glove Third Baseman, already, at the age of 24, and the
Mets are giving serious discussions to moving him to an unfamiliar position. Not that he needed the award to make it official that his talents shouldn't be moved, but there's something a bit concrete for you to consider, Omar.

Of course, there still is a bit left to be desired from him as a defensive 3B, mainly with his throwing, and you can't ignore the offensive production that A-Rod brings. But this just helps the argument that bringing A-Rod to the Mets to disrupt this team's makeup is a bad move.

Congrats to David Wright and Carlos Beltran.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Is Lo Duca staying or going?

About a week ago, I read that FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal said Paul Lo Duca was as good as gone. Today, Omar Minaya told the AP that he was "optimistic" about re-signing him.

I guess this is what the Hot Stove season is all about. Words going one way one day, then going another way the next. You can't really trust much of what you hear until it's made official.

We've already locked up Moises Alou, Damion Easley, and Marlon Anderson for next season, and this is another re-signing I would like to see put behind us, because I just don't see any worthwhile upgrades at the position.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Miguel Cabrera available.

MLB news is pretty slow today, so I'll take a look at the availability of Florida's Miguel Cabrera. The Marlins may need to trade the young superstar, and while the Mets are probably nowhere in the running to trade for him, it still has impact as he is a divisional opponent.

There's no doubt that Cabrera is a phenomenal young player. And looking at the other great young players on that team - guys like Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, and Jeremy Hermida - it would be great from a Mets standpoint to see him gone, because that team scares me. Of course, they could end up getting even more great young players back and become even more dangerous, but it's hard to replace someone like Cabrera.

That said, I can't stand Cabrera. As much as I want to like him, since I like the young makeup of that team, he just makes it so hard for me to want to root for him. I just can't stand his attitude on the field, right down to his ridiculous use of eye black. He reminds me of Manny Ramirez, in the bad way. The kid has amazing talent, and he strikes fear in you when he's your opponent, but he is someone who I would never want on my team.

But I would still rather have him than Alex Rodriguez.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Lo Duca and the Catching Situation

As much as I hate to say it, it's looking more and more like Paul Lo Duca will not return to the Mets. It's a shame, because I don't think there's anyone on the market who will give us a significant improvement there, and he is a great team leader. Sure, he has some anger management problems (and I loved his fiery Italian eyes), and that probably turned off the front office, but he was still great for this team in the clubhouse. It won't be easy to replace that, and I don't know if it's worth losing that for a minor improvement at the position.

The best available option right now seems to be Jorge Posada. He's a free agent, but the Yankees have supposedly already offered him a big contract. The loss of Joe Torre might influence to leave, but it doesn't seem like that will be enough. In order for the Mets to take him, they will probably have to offer a bigger contract than the Yankees, which would be 3 or 4 years and quite a bit of money. And at his age, that's not a commitment I want to see the Mets make.

Our best option may be just to promote Ramon Castro to the starters role. He's put up great offensive numbers as a backup for us. Although we may still want to sign another catcher to maybe platoon with him and help him out, as Castro hasn't started more than 57 games at catcher in any of his nine seasons in the majors, and Mike DiFelice certainly isn't the one to fill such a role.

If the rumors are true....goodbye Paulie, thanks for the memories.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Alou and Easley returning

Just wanted to post a quick comment about some transactions from a couple of days ago.

First, picking up Moises Alou's option to bring him back next year. He was a great bat for us in the middle of the lineup when healthy, and he wasn't a bad defensive player. I also think he's a good clubhouse presence, too, so I'm glad to see he'll be returning. It also gives us a bit of flexibility with our RF situation now that LF is secure.

Also, Damion Easley re-signed for another year. He was a great utility man for us last season, hopefully this year he won't get hurt though. He's a valuable player off the bench, and I'm also glad to see he'll be returning.

First up: Alex Rodriguez

The first topic I would like to discuss is Alex Rodriguez. This is a pretty huge issue right now with the magnitude of player that A-Rod is, and there's a bit of discussion going around about the possibility of the Mets going after him.

First off, obviously, Alex Rodriguez is the best hitter in baseball, and should go down as at least one of the best of all time. If you can add a player of his caliber to your team, that's going to be tremendous.

I can't really comment on the economics of it, because I don't know too much about that, but I'm pretty sure the Mets would be able to handle it, and he would be a huge marketing presence for the new stadium being built.

But where I have a big issue is what he does to the makeup of the team. This is David Wright's and Jose Reyes' team right now. I don't think I've ever been as big of a Mets fan as I have been these last couple of years because of those two. I was honestly never a big fan of Mike Piazza, but I absolutely love watching Wright and Reyes play together.

That being said, if A-Rod comes in, he completely overshadows Wright and Reyes in the spotlight. Suddenly A-Rod is the focus of the team, and as we've seen since he signed his ridiculous contract with Texas, that tends to be a negative focus. No longer would it be the fun, easy to love team built around Wright and Reyes. I really do not want to see that happen.

Not only that, but if A-Rod comes in, one of those two would have to switch positions, and it would likely be Wright. Reyes has proven to be too valuable at Shortstop, and we remember how that switch turned out when we brought in Kaz Matsui. I'm sure A-Rod would prefer to go back to SS, but he would pretty much have to go to 3B, causing Wright to move to 2B or 1B where his wild arm won't hurt him.

Again, going back to my reluctance to change, I don't want to see Wright change positions. I love seeing him at Third Base, despite the problems he sometimes has with making his throws. It just wouldn't be the same seeing him at 2B or 1B. Of course, my favorite former Met of all-time, Edgardo Alfonzo, switched from 3B to 2B, but he came up playing both positions, and it was Mike Piazza's team.

I just strongly disagree with bringing in Alex Rodriguez and changing this team around so harshly, besides the fact that I hate him. I want to see the Mets win the World Series with a team based around the core of David Wright and Jose Reyes. I also see value in keeping Luis Castillo as the 2nd Baseman, and see great difficulty in getting rid of Carlos Delgado at 1B for next season, so there's not much to be done there. I'd rather see the front office save it's money and strongly go after Johan Santana next offseason. We have a great team already, we don't need this drastic change.

Welcome to my blog.

Welcome to my blog! This will predominately be a blog for me to discuss the New York Mets, but I will also take the time to discuss other major topics in baseball and other sports.

The meaning of the title, Long Live Shea, is a reflection of a character trait that comes out strongly for me when it comes to sports. Although I may not be old enough to truly appreciate the past, I hate to see the traditions and values of the past broken or changed. A big example of this is the fact that the Mets are currently building a new stadium, Citi Field. Most everybody seems to be very excited for this, even quite a bit saying "Good Riddance" to Shea Stadium. I've been a Mets fan all my life, and Shea has been a part of that the whole time, and I am upset and even a bit angry to know that it's about to be torn down at the end of next season. I don't know if I'll ever be able to appreciate Citi Field as much as I do Shea Stadium, even with all of its upgrades.

Anyway, what you can expect from this blog is a lot of opinions and reactions to news stories, games, and transactions regarding the Mets. Right now it's the offseason, and so there is plenty to talk about with the team needing to make some moves to get back into contention for next season, and there's some big names floating around in Alex Rodriguez and Johan Santana. So, thanks for checking out my blog, and I hope you enjoy it and stick around!

Long Live Shea, and Long Live the Mets!